Asian American woman talks about her identity crisis growing up as a transracial adoptee: ‘You should not feel bad about having animosity towards people that were racist or harmful to you’
An Asian American woman is using her platform to shed light on her experience growing up as a transracial adoptee and how it has affected her views on the world around her.
Lingy (@lingytings), a 21-year-old creator based in Chicago, has decided to address the responses she’s received on her past videos, namely, the ones that revolve around race criticism.
“This is the only time I’m going to address this on my TikTok account,” Lingy said in a TikTok video on May 3. “I get a lot of comments on my race critical videos of like, ‘Oh, why do you hate white people?’ Why do you only talk about white people? Why do you x, y, z white people?'”
For context, Lingy reveals that she’s a transracial adoptee.
“No, transracial is not when you change your race. I was adopted from China and now I live in the U.S., immigrated and was adopted by white people,” she explains. “I was raised in a predominantly white community for half of my life. I went to private Catholic grade school and high school.”
According to a 2020 report from Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the number of transracial adoptions in the United States increased by 58% between 2005 and 2007 and 2017 and 2019. Transracial adoptions now account for 28% of all domestic adoptions in the United States.
Given that she was “the only Asian person” in her classes and her whole family is white, Lingy claims that her “world view growing up was white people.” This specific upbringing, Lingy explains, has made her hyperaware of what’s going on around her.
“You learn to become a little self-aware and critical of your surroundings as you grow up,” she continues. “I am the most critical of white people, white supremacy, the white supremacist agenda because I’ve seen it and I’ve experienced it for my whole life.”
“You should not feel bad about having animosity towards people that were racist or harmful to you.”
“I’m currently in therapy because of this trauma. You can look into adoptee trauma,” she says, adding that she acted out during adolescence because she didn’t know how to handle her angst. In fact, she didn’t get immersed in her Chinese culture until college. Lingy likely experienced what’s been described as a “racial reckoning” as she came of age.
“Most of these adoptions involve White families and children of color who, now as adults, are reflecting on the racism they experienced that their parents couldn’t see and rarely talked about,” Rachel Hatzipanagos of Washington Post wrote. “Classmates’ racist comments about their hair and eyes were dismissed as harmless curiosity.”
JS Lee, a transracial adoptee from Korea, describes a sense of trauma similar to Lingy’s.
“For intercountry adoptees of color, ‘a better life’ often translates to being taken in by White Christian parents in the West with money and means,” Lee wrote for Yes Magazine. “We are considered ‘lucky’ to have escaped the poverty and crude treatment we would’ve endured in our homelands. Sometimes that is true, but it assumes the best of our adopters, implies that our cultures are less than, and can cut ties and access to one’s roots and people.”
“There’s nothing lucky about that,” Lee added.
Lingy is steadfast on the fact that her followers, and those who resonate with her videos, are entitled to how they feel — especially toward white people.
“You should not feel bad about having animosity towards people that were racist or harmful to you,” she says. “That was my whole f****** life growing up and of course I’m gonna talk about it…If the things that I talk about bother you, I’m encouraging you to, like, self-reflect and think about why. You don’t know everyone’s context. Like, it’s just so important to understand that and to understand why people are and act the way that they do.”
“The transracial adoptee experience is so painful, but connecting w others w shared experiences has been very powerful for me.”
Lingy’s video has resonated, particularly with other TikTok users who are adoptees or felt insecure growing up in predominantly white communities as a person of color.
“Thank you for vocalizing this on behalf of adoptees. I sincerely appreciate it,” @messy_depressi said.
“The problem I feel like a lot of people today don’t even want to sit with the why of the uncomfortable situation let alone question it,” @hello.sarahh wrote.
“i’m not an adoptee but i’m half-asian who grew up in a yt community where i was divorced from my chinese culture and i feel you sm. sending love,” @yourneighborhoodwasian replied.
“The transracial adoptee experience is so painful, but connecting w others w shared experiences has been very powerful for me,” @captain.trashtyn revealed.
While not all transracial adoptees experience trauma, immersing yourself in a diverse community and connecting with other transracially adopted individuals can help those who do. According to Erika Stapert, a senior child, adolescent and adult psychologist, it’s imperative that adoptive parents ensure that their child is brought up in a diverse, integrated neighborhood that talks openly about race and culture. Doing this, Stapert suggests, will lessen your child’s potential feelings of inadequacy due to the way your child looks.
Lingy’s video is a reminder for fellow transracial adoptees, as well as individuals that have struggled with feeling less than, to be gentle with themselves — and to recognize that their trauma is valid, regardless of what anyone says.
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